Maryland

Kathy Snyder Pushes for Slots Referendum in Maryland

On July 17th, 2008, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce said that if the slots referendum does not pass, the state could face a lot of problems. Kathy Snyder said that majority of voters will decide if to pass or reject a referendum authorizing a constitutional modification to allow state regulate slot machines placed in five locations across the state.

One of the planned locations is the Rocky Gap State Park. The Maryland chamber is a charter member of For Maryland For Our Future, a pro-slots organization supported by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Allegany County chamber has not yet decided on their position on the slots controversy. Snyder said that if the slots referendum passes, it could be one of the main sources of revenue of the county.

Warren Descheneaux, a budget analyst for the General Assembly estimates a budget deficit of $200 million by the end of the current budget year, which will end on June 30th, 2009. The budget deficit could be solved by the projected $600 million to $700 million. Half of the profits will be allocated for education.

Allegany County would receive 5.5% of the gross revenue from the 1,500 machines at Rocky Gap in a new $75 million slots parlor. As of the moment, the cash is required to be spent near the slots parlor. The county would not earn property taxes because the location is located on state land. If the slots referendum fails, legislators may impose additional taxes to the business community.